December 27, 2005
Although it's a hostel, its facilities rival those of small hotels. On its ground floor, one may check her/his email, make domestic and international phone calls, burn CDs with award-winning photos previously taken, secure useful information with the numerous maps/brochures available, and even take pictures with a selection of kimonos available.
The best thing I liked about it was its living room cum pantry area on the third floor. There, one gets a reasonably good view of the streets outside. I dig the times in which I sat by the window, penning down my experiences in my journal and watching the world go by outside. If I weren't in a pensive mood, I would chat and exchange ancedotes with fellow travellers. I would remember fondly the night in which a Korean guy, a British gal and I were animatedly teaching one another set phrases in one another's languages. Such a cosy atmosphere resonates in every corner of J-Hoppers and it's really kudos to the staff there for managing the hostel well.
I also appreciated the way J-Hoppers covered its walls with photos of past travellers who have lived within its walls. Glancing at these photos as I went up the stairs, I couldn't help feeling this sense of kinship for these people. I may not know them and we may be vastly different in terms of culture and values, but we share a similar thrist for travel, for adventure. I also felt like I am part of something larger--people before me have come in awe of Kyoto's shrines and future travellers would come to discover its mystique for themselves.
Guests were encouraged to leave several of their photos as mementoes. I would have done it quite willingly (and shamelessly) but the staff actually showed their appreciation by giving me 20 minutes' Internet access for free!
Lastly, the male dormitory room we slept in can house 8 people at a time (more opportunities for inter-cultural understanding!).
All these perks for a generous price of 2500 yen. It's everything that a budget traveller can ask for and more.
From journal Navigating Kyoto